How to Tie a French Knot
What's a French Knot?
Unrelated to a French kiss, a French knot is a type of knot which uses only one hole in your fabric and leaves a "dot" or knot behind.
It's used in embroidery and cross-stitch to create small dots. Since the shapes you can make with a needle and thread in embroidery and particularly cross-stitch are limited to variations on a short line, having a "dot" option is very handy.
This tutorial is for what I call the "quick and dirty French knot" because it's not a proper French knot. In this version, you only make one loop. For a proper French knot, I think you're supposed to do a double loop. But it's a step up from making a simple quarter-stitch, which I've also done to avoid doing "real" French knots, and means you don't have to buy and store a whole bunch of seed beads (the other common alternative to making French knots in cross stitch).
Step 1: Anchor the thread
My first instinct is to bring the needle to the right side of the fabric, make a knot, and pull it through. Instead, run the needle and thread under a couple of stitches on the wrong side of the piece before pulling it through the fabric.
Step 2: Loop around the thread
Most French Knot instructions say to wrap the thread around the needle twice and pull back through the fabric. This basically makes a spiral, which my needle (and thread) go all the way through, leaving no knot.
Instead, I start by making a single loop with the thread, using the needle as its center.
Step 2 Photo: Loop around the thread
Step 3: Twist the loop
Twist the loop and poke the needle through the "back" side of the loop. You are basically making a loop, twisting it once, and using that twist as the knot.
Step 3 Photo: Twist the Loop
Step 4: Finish the knot
Tug gently on the loop of the thread, keeping it a little taut while you pull the needle through to the other side of the fabric. On the last millimeter or so (1/8"), let go of the loop to make it a nice thick knot. French knots easily pull through to the other side of the fabric if they're too tight, and then you have to start over!
Step 4 Photo: Finish the Knot
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